Feature Story

OWU in Review 2014

December 18, 2014 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Among OWU’s 2014 highlights is hosting the NCAA Division III men’s and women’s outdoor track & field championships for the second time since 2011. (Photo by Sara Blake)

Among OWU’s 2014 highlights is hosting the NCAA Division III men’s and women’s outdoor track & field championships for the second time since 2011. (Photo by Sara Blake)

On the Ohio Wesleyan campus, 2014 has been a year of restoration and renovation. Edwards Gymnasium, Elliott Hall, Merrick Hall, Pfeiffer Natatorium (the soon-to-be Simpson Querrey Fitness Center), and the JAYwalk all receive significant improvements thanks to generous financial gifts from alumni, parents, and friends.

Here is a look back at the year’s highlights:


All-American Battling Bishop men’s lacrosse captain Spencer Schnell ’14 is drafted by Major League Lacrosse’s Ohio Machine. The Machine plays at Selby Stadium, home of the OWU men’s and women’s lacrosse programs, so Schnell will stay close to his alma mater.

Branch Rickey Arena hosts the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters as part of the team’s “Fans Rule” world tour. The basketball game features new rules, voted for by fans, that raise the already high bar of trick shots and showmanship.

As part of the University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance, Black Men of the Future read three poems to campus – an original piece on the Rev. Dr. King by Lucky Mosola ’14; King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”; and “I, Too” by Langston Hughes. The documentaries “Freedom Riders” and “White Like Me” also are screened and discussed.


The University receives an $8 million contribution from Louis A. Simpson ’58 and his wife and business partner, Kimberly K. Querrey, to support the renovation of Edwards Gymnasium and the transformation of the former Pfeiffer Natatorium into the new Simpson Querrey Fitness Center. When it opens in fall 2015, the fitness center will include cardiovascular equipment, a dance studio, classrooms, and office space for the Department of Health and Human Kinetics.

Professor of English David Caplan, Ph.D., publishes “Rhyme’s Challenge,” a book that explores hip hop music as a form of modern poetry. Caplan compares contemporary poet-musicians such as Kanye West, Jay Z, and Eminem to historic poets such as William Shakespeare and William Wordsworth.

Pitch Black, OWU’s female a capella group, places third in the regional quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). The championship, started in 1996, is a worldwide competition popularized by the 2012 film “Pitch Perfect.”


At the NCAA Division III indoor track & field championships, Cara DeAngelis ’14 and Matt Hunter ’15 earn All-America honors for their finishes. DeAngelis places second in the 3,000-meter run, and Hunter places sixth in the heptathlon.

Ohio Wesleyan’s annual Golden Bishop Awards includes a new honor, the Guy Sarvis Award, with the winner selected by the President’s Council on Racial and Cultural Diversity. The award, named in memory of the popular OWU sociology professor, was created in 2013 as part of a $100,000 gift from the Ollendorff Center for Human and Religious Understanding. The center’s founder, Stephen Ollendorff, and his mother lived with the Sarvis family after fleeing Nazi Germany. The inaugural award is presented to OWU student Prabhjot Virk ’14.

Actor, writer, director, and kindness advocate Josh Radnor, best known for his role as Ted Mosby on TV’s “How I Met Your Mother,” visits Ohio Wesleyan. OWU’s student newspaper, The Transcript, describes his well-received two-hour presentation as “a sort of life advice session.”

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), “the conscience of Congress” and a legendary leader of the Civil Rights movement, speaks to a packed house March 31 in Gray Chapel. Lewis, the sole surviving speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, also receives an honorary degree from the University. His involvement in the Civil Rights movement began in 1960 as a freshman at Tennessee’s Fisk University and continued despite beatings and arrests, including at the “Bloody Sunday” attack on marchers that led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.


Kelly Maier ’14 is named state Student Teacher of the Year by the Ohio Association of Teacher Educators. She is nominated by professor Amy McClure, Ph.D., and plans to enter the field of special education after earning her master’s degree.

The Ohio Arts Council honors professors David Caplan, Ph.D., and Bonnie Milne Gardner, Ph.D., with awards and $5,000 grants. Caplan is recognized for his book “Rhyme’s Challenge” on hip-hop music and modern poetry and Gardner for her original play “The Secret War of Emma Edmonds,” based on a true Civil War-era story.

Three Ohio Wesleyan students and alumni earn National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship awards, allowing them to continue their research in the field and in postgraduate programs. Mary Ann Lee ’14, Brad Turnwald ’13, and Kristen Lear ’11 each receives a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance.

Carly Zalenski ’15 earns a Charles J. Ping Community Service Award from the Ohio Campus Compact recognizing her outstanding leadership and commitment to community service. While at OWU, Zalenski has participated in mission trips to El Salvador and Nicaragua and spent a summer working in Vietnam as part of a Theory-to-Practice Grant. At age 12, Zalenski began raising funds to build schools in Vietnam. Since then, she has founded the charitable organization “Kids Building Hope,” raised more than $75,000, and witnessed the opening of two elementary schools constructed, in large part, through her efforts.

Ohio Wesleyan alumna Jean Carper ’53 is inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent College’s Hall of Excellence. An internationally renowned medical journalist, Carper is the ninth OWU graduate inducted into the hall, which honors outstanding graduates from OFIC-member colleges. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a former senior medical correspondent for CNN. She also has written for USA Weekend Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post.

For the second year in a row, Ohio Wesleyan is recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the 332 most environmentally friendly colleges in the United States and Canada. The University is recognized, in part, for the work of the President’s Task Force on Campus Sustainability, the LEED-Certified Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, the use of green technology to illuminate Selby Stadium, a student-led community garden project, and more.


The University breaks ground May 16 to begin restoring Merrick Hall, an $8 million renovation project funded by an anonymous alumni couple. The building is scheduled to reopen in fall 2015 and to become a focal point for The OWU Connection curricular initiative. It also will contain innovative classroom space and an elegant, third-floor meeting venue.

The University dedicates the new 1964 Commons Garden, part of the Class of 1964’s 50th reunion gift to Ohio Wesleyan. The area at the west end of the JAYwalk includes open lawn space as well as trees, shrubs, grasses, and more than 1,000 bulbs and perennials.

Ohio Wesleyan hosts the NCAA Division III men’s and women’s outdoor track & field championships for the second time since 2011, making it just the second university in the United States selected to host the national event more than once in the past 10 years. OWU’s Cara DeAngelis ’14 earns third place in the 5,000-meter run, and Matt Hunter ’15 earns eighth place in the decathlon.


Ohio Wesleyan’s 2013-2014 “OWU Better Together” campaign is selected from among 162 applicants nationwide to receive the Interfaith Youth Core’s “Best Overall Campaign” Better Together Award. The initiative, overseen by the offices of the Chaplain and Community Service Learning, focused on food supply and hunger.


Professor Sean Kay, Ph.D., publishes his fourth book, “America’s Search for Security: The Triumph of Idealism and the Return of Realism.” Prominent historian Douglas Brinkley proclaims: “Sean Kay’s ‘America’s Search for Security’ is a deeply insightful, often brilliant, analysis of recent U.S. foreign policymaking.”

Ohio Wesleyan is among the “best and most interesting” four-year colleges in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, according to The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015. The guidebook also includes OWU on its list of “small colleges and universities strong in business.”

OWU jumps 55 points in Forbes Magazine’s 2014 overall ranking of “America’s Top Colleges,” coming in nationally at No. 145. The magazine also ranks Ohio Wesleyan among the top U.S. private and top Midwest colleges. OWU’s No. 6 ranking among 31 Ohio schools, places the University higher for outcomes than 25 other Ohio public and private schools.

Ohio Wesleyan receives an anonymous $1.625 million gift from an alumnus to support the men’s lacrosse team, the OWU lacrosse program, and several Battling Bishop women’s programs.


Ohio Wesleyan earns a 2014-2015 Career Ready Internship Grant of $133,333 from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. The funds will create 25 paid internships for students with financial need.

Ohio Wesleyan is featured on three lists in The Princeton Review’s “The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 Edition.” In the book, OWU is recognized as one of the nation’s best overall universities as well as one of the “Best Midwestern” and leading “Green” colleges. Ohio Wesleyan also is recognized as one of the nation’s top 50 liberal arts colleges and universities by Washington Monthly.

The OWU Class of 2018 arrives on campus, but a number of the students already have strong roots in the community. Sixteen have siblings who attended Ohio Wesleyan, and 28 have parents or grandparents who are alumni. The new students represent 33 U.S. states and 18 nations.

During her life, Nancy J. Hall ’65 made education her life’s work, and she continues that support through a $615,000 estate gift to Ohio Wesleyan to endow a new scholarship fund.

Elliott Hall reopens in time for fall classes after a top-to-bottom renovation that adds new classroom technology, greater access, and more. The construction was necessary after January’s record-low temperatures froze and broke a water line feeding into Elliott’s sprinkler system and flooded the building.


Recent graduate Marissa Alfano ’14 is named one of eight winners of national Mortar Board scholarships to promote post-graduate study. Alfano was editor of The Transcript student newspaper and is studying law at The Ohio State University. Mortar Board is the premier U.S. honor society for college seniors.

Professor Amy McClure, Ph.D., chair of Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Education, co-authors a new book, “Teaching Children’s Literature in an Era of Standards.” McClure ’72 has written or co-written seven books on children’s literature since earning her OWU degree.

Ohio Wesleyan celebrates the 30th anniversary of its signature Sagan National Colloquium, which annually brings the campus and local community together for a semester-long examination of an issue of national or international importance. For its 30th anniversary, the series examines “H2OWU: Water in Our World.”


President Rock Jones, Ph.D., earns the 2014 “Outstanding Performance as a College or University President Award” from Region IV-East of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).The award honors those who have “advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and programs.”

Battling Bishop tight end Calvin Cagney ’15 breaks the nearly 50-year-old school football record for career receptions in the Oct. 23 match versus DePauw University. Cagney caught five passes in the 23-16 win, boosting his season total at that time to 35 and his career total to 173.

Guided by professional artist Jaque Fragua, more than 200 OWU students, faculty, and staff create a mural on the concrete backdrop to Ohio Wesleyan’s amphitheater. The project is led by Catie Beach ’15 and Kerrigan Boyd ’15. Boyd found inspiration in her Travel-Learning Course to Chiapas, Mexico, where students met with members of the Zapatista movement.


Forty-four members of the Choral Art Society and music professor Nancy Gamso, D.M.A., perform live with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra when it presents “Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton.”

Eighteen OWU students compete in regional competition for the American Collegiate Moot Court Association, arguing Supreme Court-eligible issues. Four qualify to attend the national tournament in January in Florida: Katherine Berger ’15, Jordan Bernstein ’15, Rhiannon Herbert ’16, and Lidia Mowad ’15.

Eight Ohio Wesleyan students studying abroad in Tanzania are selected to present their health-care research at the 31st annual scientific conference and general meeting of the Tanzania Public Health Association. Those presenting are MaryKate Caja ’17, Addy Dyrek ’16, Kelli Kiffer ’16, Carly Lovullo ’17, Elena Plazolles-Hayes ’17, Shelli Reeves ’16, Shareeque Sadiq ’17, and Elizabeth Wynne ’16.

After an anonymous alumni couple donates $3 million in November to create a program to match major gifts, Ohio Wesleyan receives several new gifts during the final two months of the year. To date, contributions receiving $250,000 major-gift matches include:

  • $600,000 from Nicholas E. ’75 and Lydia Keller Callio ’77 to benefit the annual fund, support the President’s Circle, and create a new endowed student scholarship.
  • $750,000 from an anonymous parent couple to support construction of a new small living unit (SLU).
  • $260,000 from Richard S. Ames ’77 to create both a new scholars program and endowed scholarship, laying the foundation for a new “OWU Promise Scholarship.” He also challenges other classmates to contribute to the Ohio Wesleyan Fund.
  • $250,000 from George R. ’64 and Linda L. Mahoney to create an endowed faculty support fund in honor of retired history professor Richard W. Smith.
  • $250,000 from Mark Hubbart ’70 and Virginia O’Grady Shipps ’70 to provide scholarships for legacy students and augment the Hubbart/Shipps Family Legacy Scholarship Endowment.
  • $250,000 from Richard L. Cassell ’64 and C. Ann Colson Cassell ’64 to create an endowed scholarship in recognition of retired University archival librarian John H. Reed HON ’04 and retired English professor Libuse L. “Libby” Reed HON ’91.

Additional gifts in November and December as part of Ohio Wesleyan’s new Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign include:

  • $250,000 from Jason R. ’05 and Elizabeth Long Downey ’06 to create a new endowed scholarship and support the Ohio Wesleyan Fund; President’s Circle; and Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship.
  • $100,000 to support international student scholarships in honor of educator Anna Philip.
  • $250,000 to support faculty from an anonymous family with ties to OWU that include student, parent, and Board of Trustees member.
  • $505,000 from Evan R. ’59 and Barbara P. Corns to create a new student scholarship and to support the Ohio Wesleyan Fund; President’s Circle; Team OWU; and Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship. With this latest gift, the couple’s lifetime giving to Ohio Wesleyan reaches $10 million.


The OWU men’s soccer team competes in its tenth NCAA Division III semifinals, finishing the season among the nation’s top four teams. The Bishops previously won national championships in 1998 and 2011 under the direction of the winningest coach in NCAA soccer history, Jay Martin. Midfielder Colton Bloecher ’15 is named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America teams.

Ohio Wesleyan students earn recognition on the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for their efforts to serve others locally, nationally, and internationally. OWU is recognized in both the general service and interfaith service categories.